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Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Boston Red Sox (49-34) were not the first team in Major League Baseball to reach 50 wins. That goes to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who notched their eighth straight win Saturday to reach 50. Today, the Red Sox can become MLB’s second team and the American League’s first to 50 with a win over the Toronto Blue Jays (40-40). It would give the Sox a series win for the third time this season over Toronto. Ryan Dempster has that task at hand today. Dempster is 5-8 with a 4.15 ERA and looking to add to his most recent start, in which he went six innings against the Rockies and allowed two runs with four strikeouts to earn the win.

Here is today’s Red Sox lineup (first pitch – 1:35 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Gomes, LF
5. Napoli, DH
6. Nava, 1B
7. Lavarnway, C
8. Iglesias, SS
9. Snyder, 3B

Dempster, P

Lefty Mark Buehrle takes the hill for the Blue Jays. Buehrle is 4-5 with a 4.73 ERA this season. He allowed one run over seven innings in his last start against the Red Sox, a 3-2 Blue Jays win.

Ortiz sits
With an off day scheduled for Monday, John Farrell felt it was a good day to keep David Ortiz out of the lineup. With Ortiz out, Mike Napoli gets a semi-rest day, taking over the DH spot. Jonny Gomes will play left field and bat fourth today against Buehrle. Big Papi has been exceptional from the clean-up spot, considering all the uncertainty of how his heels would hold up. Ortiz is batting .317 with 16 home runs, 17 doubles, two triples and 57 RBIs in 64 of the Sox 83 games. He’s slugging .604 with an on-base percentage of .404, resulting in a .1008 OBP.

Best of June
The Red Sox go into the final day of June with a MLB-best .299 batting average for the month. Boston hasn't hit over .300 in a month as a team since May 2006 when those Red Sox hit .306.

Let us know what you think about today’s game by commenting below.

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As always, give me a shout on Twitter: @thebenwhitehead

Ben Whitehead 6/30/2013 11:30:00 AM Edit
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